HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i baseball team (26-17, 8-8 BWC) garnered its first winning season since 2012 on Friday at Les Murakami Stadium, notching the year’s 26th win in a 6-2 victory over UC Irvine (17-30, 4-12 BWC).
Despite the outcome, it was the Anteaters that landed the first blow on Friday, as Adrian Damla started a productive outing with a second-inning single, stole second and came around to score the game’s first run on a Christian Koss RBI single.
Stunted at first, the Rainbow Warriors responded in kind two innings later, as center fielder Dylan Vchulek led off the fourth with a double and crossed the plate for the tie as shortstop Dustin Demeter‘s RBI single sliced through the middle infield. A third double on the frame, this time from left fielder Adam Fogel, pushed the ‘Bows ahead.
The Anteaters rallied in the fifth, using an Alex Guenette leadoff walk to knot the game on an RBI groundout.
That was just the motivation the ‘Bows needed, as designated hitter Chayce Ka’aua drove the first pitch he saw in the bottom of the fifth, then reached third on a missed pickoff throw by UCI starter Louis Raymond. As Johnny Weeks fired an RBI single up the middle, Ka’aua came home and UH claimed the final lead.
One inning later, third baseman Josh Rojas put an exclamation point on the insurance runs, crushing a two-run, lined home run down the right field line for a three-run advantage. Rounding things out in the seventh, Demeter brought home Alex Fitchett on an RBI double to cement the 6-2 final margin.
Starter Brendan Hornung (6-4) earned the victory, tossing 7.0 innings with one earned run on six hits, striking out four Anteaters. Casey Ryan cleaned up the final two frames giving no runs and no hits with a single strikeout.
Raymond (3-5) allowed four earned runs on 6.0 innings, striking out four in the loss for UCI.
At the plate, the Rainbow Warriors notched double-digit hits for the 21st time this year, five of which were doubles. Leading the way, Demeter hit 3-for-4 with one of those doubles and two RBI. Fogel also hit 2-for-4 with an RBI and two doubles.
The Rainbow Warriors and Anteaters will be out of action on Saturday, with the 2017 Hawai’i commencement on the schedule. All seven of the UH seniors are slated for graduation – Marcus Doi, Alex Fitchett, Isaac Friesen, Brendan Hornung, Kyle Mitchell, Josh Rojas and Casey Ryan. The series will continue on Sunday with a 5:00 p.m. first pitch at Les Murakami Stadium.